Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Check-Up and a Name

The Dreaded Cat Carrier
The second thing that crossed our minds, right after we realized how cute our new kitten was, was that we needed to get him to the veterinarian and have him checked out as soon as possible. After all, he'd been living in an abandoned house, so he was probably infested with fleas, worms, and all kinds of other horrors. The third thing that crossed our mind was that he needed a name. Now, please realize that I was still a bit reluctant to get too attached to this little guy until we found out how healthy he was, and that had to wait until Monday. In the meantime, we showed him where the litter box was and dug out a couple of toys that we had saved after Jasmine had died.

This formerly wild cat fit right into our household routine. He spent the weekend exploring every square inch of the house. He played, he followed us around, he took naps, he acted as if he had always lived with us. From that first day, he knew where his litter box was and it's purpose. He did everything right. He scratched on the scratching post, he purred when petted, he played with his toys and he made quite a amazing number of different sounds. He was perfect.

Carol and I talked about what sort of name to give this new kitten, but we couldn't come up with anything that seemed to fit. We agreed that it might be wise to give him a few days to settle in and see if something in his behavior would help to name him. So, we watched, and played and waited to see what sort of things he would do.

On Monday, Carol went off to work and I loaded up the new kitten and headed to the animal hospital. We've been going to Highland Park Animal Hospital for a great many years now and have always been happy with the treatment they've given to our cats. It's a bit of a drive, but they know us and we know them, and so, naturally, that's were we went. I had collected the appropriate samples before we left, so we could get a complete picture of our new cat's health. The kitten wasn't exactly happy about being in the cat carrier on the front seat of the car, but I've had cats who voiced their complaints at much higher volume and with much greater frequency, so the ride to the hospital wasn't too bad for either of us.

It was the most straightforward visit to the veterinarian I've ever experienced and one of the most pleasant as well. The kitten was easy to handle, the vet was pleasant and the results were all good news. His only problem was a few ear mites. After vaccinations for all the things kittens are susceptible to, a blood test and a topical treatment for ear mites, fleas and worms, I left our sample to be sent to the lab, wrote my check for the visit, loaded up the kitten and headed home with a clean bill of health. Hurray!! I called Carol on the way and gave her the good news. We, apparently had adopted the perfect cat. We got a call the next day stating that our sample had tested negative for any parasites.

Now that we knew that we had a healthy kitten, likely to live to a ripe old age, we could move forward with the naming. As we watched and played over the next couple of days, we realized that this kitten possessed all of the best qualities of every cat we'd ever know. He was affectionate, unafraid of strangers, playful, handsome and curious. He was also extremely photogenic, which I consider an essential characteristic in a cat. He really was the quintessential cat, and he named himself simply by being who he is. We call him Quint.

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